Military environmental literacy in the South African Army

Smit, Hendrik Adolf Petrus (2017-12)

Thesis (DPhil)--Stellenbosch University, 2017.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Traditional military activities, such as fighting wars are inherently destructive. Modern militaries undertake a diverse range of military activities; use large areas for military training and operational purposes; and they are confronted by a global focus on environmentally responsible behaviour. These conditions compel militaries to ensure that soldiers display the correct attitude toward, behaviour in and knowledge about the diverse physical, social and cultural environments they occupy and impact upon. In South Africa this is not only a moral obligation but a legal imperative too. The aim of this research is to determine the military environmental literacy (MEL) (attitude, behaviour and knowledge regarding the environment in which the military operate) of the members of the South African Army (SA Army). To reach this aim, existing environmental questionnaires were evaluated to ascertain their suitability for use in a SA Army context. None of them was usable to effectively gauge MEL in a SA Army context. Consequently, an iterative process was initiated to develop a tailor-made, valid, reliable and organisation-specific questionnaire to assess MEL in a SA Army context. The resulting questionnaire comprises a covering letter elucidating the study, a section with 15 attitude items and a section with 13 items related to reported behaviour, both employing a 5-point Likert-type scale. A third section has 14 multiple choice items to test the environmental knowledge of respondents. The three sections form the subscales of the questionnaire to measure the three components of MEL. Six open-ended questions constituted a fourth section in which respondents are required to answer questions and motivate their answers. The final section aims to elicit soldier biographical and service history information. A letter of consent that had to be filled in and signed by each respondent, accompanied the questionnaire. A stratified sample was procured from the nine different formations of the SA Army. During the procurement of the stratified sample the correct percentages of possible respondents, based on the size of formations as well as the rank and gender proportions, was ensured. Twenty-five units situated throughout South Africa were selected. Of the 1203 questionnaires distributed to the units, 1090 usable questionnaires were returned. The returned questionnaires were scanned and the data was extracted using Formware software. The database was analysed using the Lisrel 8.8 program. Analysis of variance was done for the variables and Fisher’s least significant difference post hoc tests were performed for instances where the data rendered significant differences. Pearson correlation coefficients were Stellenbosch University https://scholar.sun.ac.za iv calculated to analyse the continuous data. The qualitative data was analysed using content analysis to investigate the military environmental narrative. The main products of the research are an organisation-specific, valid and reliable questionnaire to assess MEL in a SA Army context and a baseline for MEL in the SA Army and its nine formations. For all three components of MEL attitude (mean of 1.8 on a five-point Likert scale), behaviour (mean of 1.8) and knowledge (mean of 65%) respondents recorded high scores. The composite MEL of 75% denotes a high level of MEL for soldiers of the SA Army. Attitude, behaviour and knowledge scores were recorded for rank, gender, age, time employed in the South African DOD, deployment experience, home language, exposure to environmental positions in the Army, environmental and geography education and level of general education. The correlation between the components revealed that the strongest correlation exists between attitude and behaviour (r = 0.56) with knowledge and attitude second (r = 0.35) and knowledge and behaviour (r = 0.29) third. These results are supported by those of the qualitative analysis. The main recommendation is that the findings should be used to enhance the quality of environmental education and training in the SA Army through the Environmental Services subdivision which is responsible for environmental education and training in the SA Army.

AFRIKAANS OPSOMMING: Tradisionele militêre aktiwiteite soos oorlogmaak, is inherent vernietigend. Moderne weermagte onderneem ‘n diverse reeks militêre aktiwiteite; hulle gebruik groot gebiede vir beide oefenterreine en operasionele teaters; en hulle word gekonfronteer deur ‘n globale fokus op omgewingsverantwoordbare optrede. Hierdie omstandighede dwing weermagte om te verseker dat hul soldate die korrekte houding teenoor optrede in en kennis van die diverse fisiese, sosiale en kulturele omgewings waarbinne hulle opereer, sal hê. In Suid-Afrika is dit nie net ʼn morele verantwoordelikheid nie, maar ook ʼn wetlike vereiste. Die doel van hierdie navorsing is om die militêre omgewingsgeletterdheid (MOG) (houding, optrede en kennis van die omgewing waarbinne militêre optrede plaasvind) van lede van die Suid-Afrikaanse Leër (SAL) vas te stel. Om hierdie doel te bereik is bestaande omgewingsvraelyste geëvalueer met die oog op hul geskiktheid om in die konteks van die SAL gebruik te word. Geeneen was geskik om die MOG in die SAL te bepaal nie. Gevolglik is ʼn iteratiewe proses van stapel gestuur om ʼn pasgemaakte, geldige, betroubare en organisasie-spesifieke vraelys te ontwikkel wat MOG in die konteks van die SAL kan meet. Die vraelys wat uit hierdie proses voortgevloei het, bestaan uit ʼn dekbrief wat die studie verduidelik, ʼn afdeling met 15 items oor houding teenoor die omgewing en 13 items wat oor self-gerapporteerde optrede handel. In beide afdelings word ʼn vyfpunt Likert-skaal gebruik. ʼn Derde afdeling bestaan uit 14 veelkeuse kennisitems wat die militêre omgewingskennis van respondente toets. Hierdie drie afdelings vorm die subskale van die vraelys en toets die drie komponente van MOG. Ses oop vrae maak die vierde afdeling uit. In hierdie afdeling moet respondente ʼn vraag beantwoord en hul antwoorde motiveer. Die laaste afdeling bestaan uit vrae oor die biografiese en militêre diensgeskiedenis van respondente. ʼn Toestemmingsbrief wat deur elke respondent ingevul en onderteken moes word, het die vraelys vergesel. ʼn Gestratifiseerde steekproef is uit die nege formasies van die Leër getrek. Daar is verseker dat die korrekte persentasies van moontlike respondente, gebaseer op die grootte van formasies en die rang en geslagsverhoudings binne elke formasie in die steekproef gereflekteer is. Vyf-en-twintig eenhede, geografies versprei deur Suid-Afrika, is geselekteer. Van die 1203 vraelyste wat versprei is, is 1090 bruikbare vraelyste terugontvang. Die bruikbare vraelyste is geskandeer en die data is met behulp van Formware sagteware onttrek. Die databasis is met die Lisrel 8.8-program ontleed. Variansie-analise van die veranderlikes is onderneem en Fisher se kleinste betekenisvolle verskil post hoc toets is uitgevoer in gevalle waar die data beduidende verskille tussen die veranderlikes aangedui het. korrelasiekoëffisiente is vir die kontinue data bereken. Die kwalitatiewe data is ontleed met behulp van inhoudsanalise om die militêre omgewingsnarratief te ondersoek. Die belangrikste produkte van hierdie navorsing is ʼn organisasie-spesifieke, geldige en betroubare vraelys waarmee MOG in die SAL konteks gemeet kan word. Die vraelysdata het ʼn basislyn vir MOG in die SAL sowel as die nege formasies van die Leër verskaf. Vir al drie komponente van MOG, naamlik houding (gemiddeld 1.8 op ʼn vyfpunt Likert skaal), optrede (gemiddeld 1.8) en kennis (65%) het respondente hoë tellings behaal, ʼn aanduiding dat die MOG van die SAL se soldate hoog is. Die saamgestelde MOG vir die SAL van 75% dui op ‘n hoë vlak van MOG in die Leër. Tellings vir houding, optrede en kennis is bereken volgens rang, geslag, ouderdom, tyd in diens van die Departement van Verdediging, ontplooiingsondervinding, huistaal, blootstelling aan omgewingsposisies in die Leër, omgewings- en geografie opvoeding en algemene opvoedingsvlak. Met die berekening van die korrelasie tussen die komponente van MOG is bevind dat die grootste korrelasie (r = 0.56) tussen houding en optrede voorkom met die korrelasie tussen kennis en houding ( r = 0.35) in die tweede plek. Die swakste korrelasie (r = 0.29) bestaan tussen kennis en optrede. Hierdie resultate is goed ondersteun deur dié vanvan die analise van die kwalitatiewe data. Die belangrikste aanbeveling van hierdie studie is dat hierdie bevindings gebruik moet word om die kwaliteit van omgewingsopvoeding en -opleiding in die SAL verder te verbeter deur die Subdirektoraat Omgewingsdienste, die afdeling verantwoordelik vir omgewingsopvoeding en -opleiding in die SAL Hierdie resultate is goed ondersteun deur dié van die analise van die kwalitatiewe data. Die belangrikste aanbeveling van hierdie studie is dat hierdie bevindings gebruik moet word om die kwaliteit van omgewingsopvoeding en -opleiding in die SAL verder te verbeter deur die Subdirektoraat Omgewingsdienste, die afdeling verantwoordelik vir omgewingsopvoeding en -opleiding in die SAL. TREFWOORDE

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/102784
This item appears in the following collections: